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About the USA - Virtual Classroom
Newsletter for English Teachers

"Generation Next"
They were born after the civil rights, woman's rights and gay rights movements. They view diversity as an accepted norm. Their world has always included computers, the Internet, cell phones, text messaging, etc. They want everything and they want it now. There are 42 million 16- to 25-year-olds in the United States, making up close to 15 percent of the population. They will have a major impact on American society.

ELECTIONS 2008: Campaign Finance
Running for election to federal office in the United States requires candidates to raise enormous sums of money to finance their campaigns, and the raising and spending of that money is highly regulated by the U.S. government.

"When Americans file their annual income tax returns, they find this note near the top of the form: “Presidential Election Campaign: Check here if you, or your spouse if filing jointly, want $3 to go to this fund.” Even though $3 is a small amount, the public financing system it supports could provide each of the presidential nominees with about $84 million in campaign funds." (Public Financing Helps Fuel U.S. Presidential Campaigns - McCain campaign, Obama supporters trade charges of abusing system. - April 21, 2008)

TEACHING LITERATURE: Growing in Courage - Stoories for Young Readers
A new U.S. State Department print publication, "Growing in Courage: Stories for Young Readers," presents 11 excerpts from contemporary U.S. award-winning books for young adults (YA). Many of the works featured have won either the American Library Association's Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children or other awards for American YA literature. An introduction and short scene-setting essay is included for each of excerpt.

Under the Blood-Red Sun by Graham Salisbury: In Under the Blood-Red Sun, Salisbury writes of the Japanese in Hawaii during World War II and the dilemmas they face as their country of heritage and their adopted home go to war. Japanese- American Tomi Nakaji’s peaceful world is destroyed when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor.

This Month
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month: "Asian/Pacific Americans have enriched our culture, excelling in many fields, including education, business, science, technology, government, sports, and the arts." President George W. Bush. Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing, yet least known, groups of immigrants in the United States. Use these links and lesson plans to explore their history and stories.

May 3 - World Press Freedom Day: Throughout the world, 3 May serves as an occasion to inform the public of violations of the right to freedom of expression and as a reminder that many journalists brave death or jail to bring people their daily news.

Web Chat Station: U.S. Elections - Your Questions: Wondering about how delegates are counted or how the Electoral College works? Curious where the presidential candidates stand on the issues? Join's elections experts to discuss the people, processes and issues that shape the U.S. presidential race. Readers' questions & comments will shape's Election Coverage, so now it is your turn to tell the experts what elections topics you care about. Please register in advance.

Introducing: Open Educational Resources - Linking You to Teaching and Learning Resources: Welcome to OER Commons, a global teaching and learning network of free-to-use resources – from K-12 lesson plans to college courseware – for you to use, tag, rate, and review.


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Updated: May 2, 2008